Have you ever had a dream that you wake from completely devastated, but so happy that you’ve awoken from your worst nightmare? A dream that sits way too close to reality for comfort?
I’ve had a few of them, but three of those dreams stand out profoundly. These are three that I will probably never forget. All of them involve my Oli.
The first one was the recurring dream that I told you about in the very first blog that I wrote for my story. The dream that I was going blind. You can read it HERE. I’ve never had that dream again since Oli was born.
The second dream/nightmare happened after Oli had her first big seizure and we almost lost her. I must have had some kind of post-traumatic stress. I dreamed that she died that afternoon.
A van pulled up to my childhood home with my daughter’s body lying inside it. I met the driver of the van at the end of the driveway. I already knew that she was gone. The driver dipped his head in the sun, casting a dark shadow across his sorrow filled eyes. Then he walked around to the back and opened the hatch. When he turned around again he had a little bundle wrapped in a brown blanket in his arms. I couldn’t see any part of her. Except for her feet. They were lying across his forearm. I couldn’t tear my eyes away from her feet. She was holding them in a certain sweet way, so delicate and petite, crossed at the ankles. He handed her to me and I carried her wrapped in the blanket over to the shade of a tree and laid her quiet body beneath it. And then I just sat there. I sat there staring at her beautiful little feet. My heart broke into a million little pieces. How could she be gone?
I woke up from that dream gasping for breath, feeling the happiness and life being squeezed right out of me. I ran to the other room and sat on Oli’s bed. I sat there and stared at her chest, rising and falling with life. I rubbed her feet beneath the blankets until they wiggled and pulled away from my hand. I sat with her until that image of her lifeless form left my mind. But, it hasn’t left it completely. I still see those little feet lying motionless in the grass. I still vividly remember that dream.
It terrifies me.
The third dream I had last night.
I had a dream that I wasn’t her mother. I was her nanny and I was moving. I was moving very very far away from her and I wasn’t going to be able to see her again. It was so strange because in my dream I was looking at Oli through someone else’s eyes. Not my own. I saw her as other people must see her. She wasn’t my child, but I felt fiercely protective of her and completely torn apart at the thought of not watching her grow up.
She was sitting in a chair as I was saying good bye. Her curly hair was blowing in a breeze coming in through an open window. Her lips quivered in sadness. Her little eyes were filled with tears. She knew I was leaving.
I said, “Oh Oli. How am I ever going to live without you? I don’t want to go away. I want to stay with you forever. How am I going to survive?”
She wrapped her arms around my neck and nuzzled her face into the crook of my collarbone. Just like always. And then we said good bye. I cried and sobbed and screamed her name.
“Oli! Oli! No! Please! I can’t leave her! Don’t make me leave her!” The anguish washed a red tide over my heart and wiped all happiness away.
And then I woke up.
I woke up and my Oli was still sleeping safely in her bed. I hadn’t been taken from her. I was still her mother.
I don’t know what these dreams mean? I don’t know if other moms have these types of nightmares? Are other special needs moms terrified of losing their children? Do we all notice a visible line between life and death and are distinctly aware of keeping our children walking on this side? Do we all hover and protect, trying to keep them from falling off the edge only to have them flail beyond our control off of the cliff in our dreams?
I’ve never had dreams like these that involved my other children. They’ve never died or been taken away from me.
With Oli… I have. I still do.
I’m probably just terrified of losing her. Sometimes her life seems so fragile compared to everyone else’s. She seems so much more breakable. I imagine a lifetime of loving her and laughing with her, but I know that there is no guarantee. There is no guarantee with anyone, but with her it just seems so much more real.
Sometimes I just can’t seem to help being petrified that I’m going to lose her. I don’t want to lose her.